Ramadan begins in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar at the sighting of a new moon. In 2015, Ramadan falls on or around June 18 and ends on or around July 16.
The exact dates of Ramadan change each year because the Islamic calendar is based on revolutions of the moon around the Earth. Ramadan is the actual name of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims around the world fast for about 29 to 30 days. Because lunar cycles are naturally shorter than the typical solar calendar used almost everywhere else, Ramadan falls on different dates each year, about 11 days earlier than the year before.
During the fast, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse from sunrise to sundown each day. In addition, Muslims are supposed to commit both body and soul to the fast by focusing all their attention on God and self-sacrifice during this holy month, according to About Religion. Muslims also are especially encouraged during this time to refrain from any negative or evil thoughts, words and actions towards others, as well as avoiding doing anything considered sinful in the Muslim religion. Muslims exempt from fasting during Ramadan include young children, the elderly and those who are sick, traveling, pregnant or menstruating.